African Press International (API)

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Posts Tagged ‘Politics of Sexuality’

Kenya: Brothels of Kisumu breeds prostitution

Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2013

It is ten in the morning. Along a street down town Kisumu, a few cars zoom past.
Apart from the Mpesa shops dotting the place, not much activity is going on along the lonely street near Kamas area.
Being a Monday morning, the street could be deserted probably because most people are at their places of work.
But curiously, a rowdy group of young and skimpily dressed ladies emerge from an old and desolate building adjacent to the street. This gang immediately grabs my attention.
They appear drunk. Very drunk and one of them is shouting and gesturing wildly. She is on top of her voice.
Apparently, two of them have disagreed. From their heated argument, it’s clear the dispute is about a man.
It turns out these women are prostitutes fighting over a male client. The man, I learn has vanished, may be out of fear of a possible backlash.
If you thought sex peddlers are only found in Mombasa – going by the recent sex scandal story doing the rounds in the media, then you are wrong.
Dear reader, welcome to the world of brothels of Kisumu.
Just by the roadside and a few meters away from the two ladies, there is a bar. Here, all manner of alcohol is served.
I am told, as early as 7am, one can partake of the drinks although the place is not even a restaurant.
The pub is already full as I make my way in to piece together my story .Customers here are of diverse ages; after all what matters most in this place is money and not age.
The music playing inside the pub is so loud you can’t hear yourself speak. Never mind there is a law that prohibits selling of beer to patrons this early in the day.
Mututho law which expected people to engage in nation building at this particular hour does not apply here.
Inside the noisy bar one cannot escape noticing the swelling number of these skimpily dressed women.
Almost every male customer here is sharing a table with at least one of them.
At the face of it, what goes on here appears so harmless but soon, things begin looking a little strange as the new-found ‘’ love birds’’ begin to walk in and out of the pub in turns.
Believe me; you haven’t seen anything yet out there. Behind the bar, there are over 30 rooms that can each accommodate at least a bed.
Strangely, they all have their windows wide open and as one makes his way to the washroom meant for the bar patrons, you are able to see clearly through the windows what happens inside the rooms.
Here, in a broad daylight sex trade is thriving. The women parading their naked bodies outside these rooms located in the dingy corridors of the down town building are not afraid of anyone or anything.
One cannot help but wonder whether this trade has been legalized by the authorities in this lake side city.
So daring they are that approaching any man they see within the vicinity for sex isn’t a bid deal.
I gather from one of the waiters in the pub that each day, all the women operating from this brothel hire a room at sh 600 which they must pay for by midnight.
According to the waiter who requests to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal , sometimes the hookers agree to split the bill and use the room in turns , each time they get a client for what they call here ‘’short time’’
.
She tells me that the place is so famous it attracts both men and ladies from far and wide. Some of the ladies servicing men here, she says are from the neighboring countries.
And if you thought there could be shortages, then think otherwise for she adds “as some goes away, new faces keeps trooping in each day”.
May be as a sign of improved business the owner of the bar has just thought it wise to give the building a face lift. The paint is still very fresh.
I try to find out who owns the bar and the brothel but no one, including the waiters and the bar man would dare talk to me about that subject.
To satisfy my curiosity about the existence of sex trade and more brothels within Kisumu City, I decide to investigate further.
Away from this bar, I take a ride on a motorbike and after about 15 minutes, am dropped next to the Kisumu main bus terminus, at a place popularly known as beer belt.
The place is abuzz with activities. Most of the traders here sell their wares in kiosks. Most of them are selling khat and cigarettes. Eateries also dot the place which remains noisy and chaotic.
Several Boda boda operators can be seen waiting for passengers at one side of the road that leads towards the united mall as you leave the Bus Park.
Everything appears normal at least from the open air market. But one thing still stands out- the unusual high number of lodging and boarding houses surrounding the vicinity.
The lodgings, most of which are cheap and dirty offer a perfect hideout for these hookers and their clients.
Unlike the first place I visited earlier, here the ladies are not so young and trendy. They appear low-class judging from how they dress.
Most of them can be seen milling around the bars and the lucky ones leads their catch away into the ‘’service’’ rooms.
After about 20 minutes or so, they emerge from the rooms and the trend repeat itself again and again.
But it is while under the cover of darkness that this operation is moved a notch higher in this part of the city, as I discovered.
Dressed in clothes that are more revealing than to cover their bodies, you spot many of them standing in strategic places behind the lodgings or parked vehicles, mostly Lorries whose drivers are also probably here to hunt.
Tucked safely behind these hide outs, the ladies can be heard giving catcalls to men passing by, even dropping in the ears of the strangers how much it would cost to sleep with them.
Occasionally they disappear into the brothels to escape being noticed by the police on patrol or simply slip into a bar to avoid being arrested by the cops.
This is the same story in Kondle area which is more vibrant at night given the high number of bars there some of which even have live band playing throughout the night.
While most of these ladies operate from brothels, majority hop from pub to pub seeking clients.
Along the Kisumu-Busia road, more brothels are to be found at Otonglo. Here the truck drivers are the main clients. It is not unusual to see several trucks parked there
Back to the CBD, along the Oginga Street and just before the central Square, twilight girls here lay in wait. This group of mostly young and trendy prostitutes targets the high-end clients, mostly with cars.
Usually they can be spotted pacing up and down the pavement and once in a while stepping on the road as cars approach to grab the attention of the motorists.
Along the same street also exists a brothel where those who are lucky to get a client can take them. In fact most of the twilight girls operating along this street reside at the brothel.
Kisumu, like the other urban centers all over the world has been bitten by the bug which is prostitution, a trade as old as man itself.
ENDS

 

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Norwegian Hege Grostad 27 years old who sells sex to finance her studies says it is not prostitution

Posted by African Press International on May 5, 2013

Sex-purchase law has made the situation of sex workers in Norway much worse than it should be. Girls are chased from hotel to hotel, and pursued by the police even if they are not doing anything illegal. Ms Hege who says she is an escort girl wants the law against selling of sex and pimping to be repealed.

She has argued her point in the social media now for quite sometime.

Ms Hege spoke to a Norwegian daily news VG where she admits that there are many different fates in the prostitution market but believes that the hope among sex workers is the same: Requires respect., adding that there is no need to criminalize prostitution because those who are determined to see sex will still manage to do so.

She says by coming out openly, she is helping others in the same situation as herself.

 

End

 

 

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